The grain-free diet craze is dying down among pet owners, leading some to wonder if dogs can eat human grain products like Cream of Wheat. Is it safe? While it’s best to avoid table food for your dog and stick to a balanced commercial diet, it’s useful to know that Cream of Wheat is generally safe for dogs, but that does not mean it should be part of their daily diet.
What Is Cream of Wheat?
Cream of Wheat is an American brand of farina, a type of breakfast porridge made from wheat that has been milled. It’s a popular alternative to oatmeal for breakfast, often with added ingredients like milk, sugar, salt, fruit, or syrup.
As a breakfast food for humans, Cream of Wheat offers a lot of nutrients in a low-calorie food 1. It’s rich in iron, B vitamins like niacin and thiamine, and selenium, a powerful micronutrient that acts as an antioxidant to protect cells against oxidative damage.
Is Cream of Wheat Safe for Dogs?
Plain Cream of Wheat is generally safe for dogs to eat, provided they don’t have a wheat allergy, which is rare, as most food allergies in dogs are caused by proteins like beef and chicken.
That said, there are plenty of ingredients people add to Cream of Wheat that can be unhealthy—or even unsafe—for dogs. Some of the common ingredients include sugar, milk, artificial sweeteners, or fruit.
Milk is often added to Cream of Wheat to make it creamier, but this isn’t a good thing for dogs. Lactose, the sugar found in milk, is hard on dogs’ digestive system and may cause digestive upset, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Sugar is often added as well and safe for dogs, but it’s important to limit your dog’s sugar intake. Consuming excess amounts of sugar can lead to obesity, which shortens your dog’s lifespan and contributes to serious health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Fruit is also safe but presents a similar risk of excess sugar.
There are plenty of ingredients that can be toxic to dogs as well, such as xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs, even in low doses, so always make sure you read the ingredients before offering any human foods to dogs.
Should My Dog Have Cream of Wheat?
Cream of Wheat may be safe for your dog if it’s cooked with no extra ingredients, but that doesn’t mean your dog should have it. All the nutrients that Cream of Wheat provides apply to humans. Your dog should get the nutrients it needs from its commercial dog food.
Like any other dietary change, it’s best to speak to your vet about what’s safe for your dog based on its individual health and history.
With no added sugar and cream, Cream of Wheat is a safe food for dogs who do not have a wheat allergy, but it’s not necessary for your dog’s diet. Instead of supplementing your dog’s diet with human food, opt for nutritionally complete dog food and dog-safe treats.
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